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Posted April 20, 2012
The first in new mystery series, Death Before Swine introduces Ben Hart, a chemistry teacher, who is caught up in the misdeeds of his colleagues at his hometown high school. First Ben's classroom is ruined in a chemical explosion, then a treasured school icon is destroyed and the school principal is quick to blame Ben's teaching methods, firing him. Ben suspects these pranks are hiding something more sinister though and when the football coach is murdered, he decides to investigate.
The plot of Death Before Swine is solid, well mapped with plenty of suspects and a few more bodies added to keep things interesting. While solving Coach Griffin's murder is the main focus of the story, Ben is sidetracked by drug dealing, gambling debts, false test data and a romantic entanglement or two. The sub plots give the novel depth and though I identified the killer quite early on, the murderer's motivations, when revealed, were a surprise.
As an amateur sleuth, Ben is willing to admit his failings which is quite endearing. He is a bit of geek, useless in physical confrontations but has a strong moral center and an almost naive determination to solve the mystery. He makes for a likeable protagonist as he ardently pursues leads while side stepping the local detective and the seedier side of Diamond Alley.
There is a pleasant thread of humour running through Death Before Swine that lightens the tone of the story. I thought the writing to be strong and the text well edited.
Death Before Swine is an entertaining cozy mystery that has the potential to develop into a strong series. I rarely find cozies with a male protagonist so I enjoyed the endearing perspective of Ben Hart and look forward to joining him on his next case.
Posted September 27, 2011
Reviewed by Lynn F. for Readers Favorite
Death Before Swine by V.K. Scott is a hilarious mystery that will keep the reader turning pages right to the end. Ben Hart left Diamond Alley, Arizona, after high school to attend college in Oregon. Although his father wanted him to become a doctor like he, Ben had other plans. Now he has returned home with his new career in life, a high school chemistry teacher. There is only one problem: things are not going as planned. The principal is against him, test scores are fixed, the football coach has been murdered and Ben has been fired!
Now Coach Griffin's daughter has given him a new assignment: find out who killed her father. Along with Officer Rosemary Cobb and his pet pot-sniffing pig, Neils, Ben combs the back alleys of Diamond Alley looking for the killer. It seems everyone is out to stop Ben from going further. Who can he trust? Can he find the killer before he/she gets away with murder? Will he ever get back to the simple life of teaching?
This book is a fast-paced, hard-to-put-down mystery full of suspenseful twists and turns. Ben Hart is quite the character...just an every day type of guy who is easy to connect with. The author has also provided the reader with a great cast of secondary characters that really add to the plot. From a humble school teacher to a bumbling detective, Ben Hart weaves a good story line as he narrates what is going on. The book is hilarious in parts and very well written. I found it to be quite entertaining and a satisfying mystery. I am looking forward to more books by this author. For all mystery lovers, grab a copy of Death Before Swine. You can't go wrong.
Posted August 31, 2011